In Malasana, Garland Pose, we open the hips and groin while lengthening and creating opening in the low back. Garland Pose has many physical benefits as well as meditative opportunities. Physically, it helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, and it helps to aid in digestion, while strengthening the metabolism. It is also a good posture for women to practice during pregnancy (with permission from a doctor), in order to prepare the hips for childbirth. Take a moment while in Garland Pose to close the eyes, breathe, and tune inward towards the subtle energy body. After practicing this posture, the mind may find more clarity, the body may feel a little lighter and open.
To do the posture: Bring the feet wider than hip-width distance. Option to stand in front of a wall for support. The feet can be parallel to each other or toes slightly facing out. Take an inhale breath to lengthen the spine and stand tall. On an exhale, begin to squat down towards the ground. If the heels don’t touch the ground, use a wedge (yoga prop) or rolled up yoga mat or towel under the heels for support. Bring the palms towards the heart and bring them to touch.
On in inhale breath, lift through the chest and on an exhale, draw the shoulders down the back in order to create more length in the back of the neck. Allow the elbows to press into the inner thighs and the inner thighs to resist into the elbows in order to create more length in the spine, and to sit more erect. Begin to close the eyes and follow the breath as it moves up and down the spine. Give the breath a color and envision it nourishing the entire body. Create long and smooth inhales and exhales. Stay here for up to 30 seconds to start, and stay for up to 5 full rounds of breath, inhales and exhales.
To come out: Gently bring the palms to the floor in front of the body and begin to straighten the legs. Bring the palms to the hips and on in inhale breath, with a flat-back, rise up to standing. Exhale at the top, and take a moment to notice how you feel.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class schedule and instructors.